Surveyed 16 February 2013.
The back of Aureed Reef is sheltered from the prevailing wind and sea conditions found within the lagoon of the Great Barrier Reef. Manta tow surveys were conducted on the reef slope. The reef slope is generally moderate dropping off into approximately 15m of water to a moderate sloping reef base composed mainly of sand. The reef structure has few features including bommies and gullies.
The benthic community was dominated by hard coral, but coralline/turf algae, soft coral and sand were also common. Hard coral cover on the reef back was high composed mainly of Porites species. The dominant coral lifeform was massive, but other forms such as branching, foliose and encrusting corals were also present in decreasing order of abundance. Coral bleaching was present on a few individual colonies.
The fish abundance on the back of Aureed Reef was high. Conspicuous groups of reef fishes included coral trout, surgeonfish and damselfish. Crown-of-thorns starfish were observed on the back of Aureed Reef at active outbreak levels that may be expected to significantly reduce live coral cover.